Buyout pair books 7x exit

Buyout firms Cinven and BC Partners have sold their remaining shares in travel company Amadeus.

Cinven and BC Partners sold their remaining 6.84 percent stake in Madrid-listed travel company Amadeus on Tuesday. The placement, handled by Barclays Capital, priced the shares at €12.60 each, a 4.2 percent discount to the company’s share price at Tuesday’s closing but a premium to Amadeus’ €11 price at the time of its IPO last year.

Cinven said its overall return on Amadeus was 7x the capital invested. Its investment in Amadeus was made using capital from its third fund. Gross proceeds from its staggered exit from the investment have totalled €1.6 billion, it said.

BC Partners has also made a 7x return on the deal. The firm has distributed more than €2 billion to its LPs this year.

The Amadeus exit follows another lucrative disposal for Cinven in August, when it sold medical diagnostics company Phadia to a corporate buyer Thermo Fisher Scientific for €2.47 billion. The sale generated a 3.4x return multiple and a €1 billion capital gain, according to the firm. The firm is understood to have return about €2.4 billion to investors this year, an LP source said.

Cinven and BC Partner took Amadeus private in 2005 for €4.34 billion, de-listing the business from the Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt stock exchanges.

The buyout firms and Amadeus invested more than €1 billion in product development during its period of private ownership, including the launch of airline IT software package Altea. Revenues under private equity ownership grew by 48 percent, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose by 84 percent, Cinven said in a statement.

Strong cashflows allowed the pair to conduct a dividend recapitalisation in 2007, and thereafter reduce Amadeus’ net debt over the course of the investment. Cinven made €223 million when it sold part of its stake through the company’s listing on the Madrid stock exchange in April last year. Further sell-downs were conducted, culminating in yesterday’s final exit.

Amadeus offloaded online travel agent Opodo in February this year after a successful turnaround, selling the company for €450 million (a 11.7x EBITDA multiple) to buyout firms AXA Private Equity and Permira, which then merged the business with their existing GoVoyages and eDreams portfolio companies.

Stuart McAlpine, a partner at Cinven, said in a statement: “Given current market volatility, we believe it is testament to the strength of the Amadeus business and management team that we are able to realise our remaining shares and generate a highly attractive return from our investment.

“Our investment in Amadeus also demonstrates our ability to use our sector-based expertise to originate and execute complex transactions, in this case, via a public to private from the Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt stock exchanges, with co-investors BC Partners and three airline shareholders – Air France, Lufthansa and Iberia. During our ownership, the business underwent significant change increasing its global market share from 29% in 2005 to 37% in 2009.”